Here's something I've been thinking about lately.

My band (and I'm sure most others) would love to get a support slot with a bigger band when they tour through the City. I'm not talking mega bands like Metallica/Green Day etc, but I was wondering how bands go about getting these opportunities?

Is it a case of luck?
spamming their emails with your EP/Press Kit?

or do you think bands should do their own thing and snob these opportunities (Hey they crowd isn't there to see you anyway).

These gigs are okay at picking up a few fans and maybe getting connections with bands, but generally i found it not to be international stardom! In the late 90s, supports were much easier to get. My old bands supported Coldplay, Muse and Snow Patrol (they were all really not well known at the time) but the only thing that came from it was a few fans and a bit of banter with the SP guys. We got them via our manager, or by just sending a demo to the venue.

I would focus a lot of my energy on getting a really popular youtube channel. Do high quality music videos of your own songs, and good live videos.
You have to arrange a deal where if you'll open for them in their city, they'll open for you in your city. But you have to be sure they'll make enough to afford gas and a place to sleep, so you either have to guarantee them they will (and stick by it, if it means paying them more then your band), or have them convinced you'll bring in enough people based on your reputation, online presence, or quality of recordings.

Our manager does all this shit for us now but we had to do it in the beginning. Work on building connections. Research bands in your surrounding area and get to know the guys in them. Aim for the ones that are popular and/or have a similiar style to your band. Attend their shows if they come to your town, talk to them, add them on facebook, etc. Let them know you think there band kicks ass and they're cool dudes. Casually bring up the possibility of a show swap or give them your cd/demo/link to your page and say your your similiar style so you think they'd dig it. But DONT have that be the first thing you mention to them, or they'll shoe you off caus you want to use them. Just legitimately become friends with them.

If you can't get to any of their shows then talking online works, but not as well. Its helps to if someone with a good reputation recommends you. Our manager is in the biggest rock band in our city and has toured and has all the connections I'm talking about so he tells these people about us so it speeds up the process. Now this summer we're playing almost every Friday and Saturday out of town and once or twice a month in our home town. We've got a list now of a couple dozen bands in every major city in Ontario and a few in Quebec that we're gonna books show with and eventually will come here and open for us. And the more people you bring into your local shows and more money you get them will help what they do for you in return.

Just last week a band from Toronto open for us and the guys stayed at our bass players place and we chilled and partied. Saved them on paying for rent so they appreciate that, and now we get a Toronto gig with them in return. In a couple months we are playing at a CD release show in Montreal (10 hours away) for someone we've never met.

So with that being said before you do any of this, make sure you can pack a bar in your home town and profit a few hundred dollars. When aforementioned band comes in from Montreal to play here, gas is gonna cost them $200+ and a room nearly a hundred. Plus we got another band playing with us that night, so if we wanna keep everyone satisfied we're gonna have to pull in about $400 before we can even start to make money ourselves.

Now that's a lot to think about and maybe far ahead for you guys, but start make the steps towards it now. A lot of out of town shows you don't know what to expect. You arrange deals like what I just mentioned and those guys don't keep up with your end of the bargain and they didn't bring in enough people to make up for you expenses. Always be prepared and have extra money to get a place to sleep, eat and get home. This doesn't happen very often, but at least make it a goal to break even. Touring, especially the first time you do it is basically making enough money from each show to get to your next one. But then the next few times around, you've built up a fan base in these other cities and you can bring out the fans you made last time, and this is how bands get popular.

Don't forget to keep in touch with the communities you go to. Talk to people in audience, go to parties after the show if you're staying. Keep it touch with these people. Ask the guys in the bands to print out flyers and post them around the city and that you'll pitch for it. You can't control how many people come the first time you play in a city but you can the second time. Word spreads quickly, so reaching a few people can go a long way. People might forget about a good band they saw a bar, but if they chilled with them after the show and heard about how they were on the road, they're gonna tell everyone how they met these rockstars guys who are almost famous.
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Last edited by Wiegenlied at Mar 26, 2014,
In the UK at least it seems that the tour promoter sources support acts, so you're best off harassing them.
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Interesting ideas.

I've been gigging around Melbourne for the best part of 2 - 3 years and yeah, you definitely find that the majority of those shows have been with the same bands (as in my band has played a show with a certain band and then a few months later they ask if we can do a show again and vice versa) I guess when you have so much music in one city bands that are similar tend to help each other out.
Last edited by Josh100_3 at Mar 26, 2014,
It really depends on what you want. Here in Germany the more known German bands often look for local support bands and select them personally, so it's quite easy to get to support a big German band ( unless of course you want to support the big shots like Rammstein or the Scorpions ).
My band just got signed to a booking agency, they will get us ''bigger'' support gigs, such as Slayer, Killswitch Engage and stuff like that..if we are good enough. Try to get some of your songs into the internet and into those ''bandpools''. Agencies often browse websites with artist pools to look out for new bands. That's how they found us.
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Quote by Josh100_3
Here's something I've been thinking about lately.

My band (and I'm sure most others) would love to get a support slot with a bigger band when they tour through the City. I'm not talking mega bands like Metallica/Green Day etc, but I was wondering how bands go about getting these opportunities?

Connections, and impressing the right people in the right ways (being a tight band helps; being professional in every aspect helps; being able to bring in some fans helps).

Is it a case of luck?

Yes, to some extent, but then it's also about putting in hard work and being prepared to get knocked plenty of times for every successful slot you land.

spamming their emails with your EP/Press Kit?

If by spamming you mean constantly re-sending stuff that has already been ignored twice, definitely don't do that. Send a nice email (even FB messages are fair game these days) with all relevant info about yourselves and give contact details. Wait a few days, depending on how far away the show is, then send a follow up to check they haven't forgotten to reply/got lost in inbox. If that gets no reply, send no more until the next opportunity or for a different subject - you don't want to annoy and piss off the promoters that book the good shows in your area.

or do you think bands should do their own thing and snob these opportunities (Hey they crowd isn't there to see you anyway).

Not at all - not only does it show your commitment, and potentially impress the promoter, but you can also make connections with bigger acts and their management/label as well as potentially being invited back next time they come to town (or for similar acts, by the promoter). If there's enough people there when you go on, and you only win over 10% of the crowd, that could still be 100+ people who will now check you out online, check out your merch stand and buy stuff/show support, or remember your name and visit shows if they see that name on a poster.
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Coming from personal experience. Play a supporting slot for Trivium, AILD, and some lesser known but known bands.

Contact the booking or the venue itself and ask if there is a possibility to get onto the bill. I even got paid to play the opening slots. Had to sell tickets but it was worth it.
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Usually there will be no "sending of press kits/EPs"

- Be good

- Create a name for yourself (Promote your band, get people to like you who dont know you/aren't your friends)

- Form relationships with promoters (You will almost never be dealing with a band themselves. A promoter will more than likely be choosing your band to open up a show because he/she believes you will draw even more people to the show)

-Dominate your local scene (If you're the best band/ most well known band/have the most fans in your respective scene promoters will be more likely to contact your band for opening bill opportunities

It sounds like you may be skipping a few steps, try and build a larger name for yourself and you won't have to deal will going to promoters and asking for these opportunities, promoters will instead come to you. Always act professional, be modest and polite, show up on time, and rock it when you get your 25 minutes. Be sick.

OH. and dont noodle around on drums and guitar before you start playing. Silence. Then start your set. Most unprofessional thing a band can do.
There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to this. A lot of the time, the touring band has absolutely nothing to do with which locals will open the show. Other times you have to contact the promoter of the show, and rarely you have to contact the touring band themselves, but this usually only happens if the touring band is only marginally more popular than the local bands.

Your best bet IMO is to watch for shows you'd like to be on and contact the venue as soon as the show is confirmed. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL 2 WEEKS BEFORE THE SHOW. They'll throw you a bone sometimes as long as you're established and they know you don't suck fat shits.

I've opened for some pretty recognizable bands like Protest the Hero, Born of Osiris, Powerman 5000, In This Moment, and Mushroomhead and I have to say that these experiences are more for your own enjoyment than anything else. Big things don't tend to come from these shows, but it's way cool to open for bands you really love.
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Sounds like I've been on the right track. Thread has really just established what my band has already been doing, some really cool answers though! Good to see the Pit help out